By Geetika Arora:
After the last two weeks, when most of my days were spent reading and watching everything on how the proud army of chimps (with due respect to the apes as they are quite similar, genetically, to us) screwing every bit of the peace left in our country, today, for a change, had a great start. I was at a friend’s place and his seven-month-old daughter woke me up. What a pleasant morning it was! Deep down I was relieved that he doesn’t get a newspaper. I did not want to think about Jawaharlal Nehru University or loud, useless speeches of drama queens in Parliament and everything else that had been disturbing me. I had an amazing time playing with the cute little girl. Looking at her shunned my cynicism and I was sort of happy. It was a happiness that comes from the inherent hopefulness we carry within, as humans, as a life form.
After a relatively productive day, I came back home and was sitting with my cup of tea almost over when my flatmate entered with a bang asking me if I knew what had happened. I was told that people had gone nuts! I was all ears. Instantly, she shared the news about the bail order. Well, sadly the story gets as ‘filmi’ as it can from here on. As if the drama queen currently raising the TRPs for various channels wasn’t enough, our judicial system has also started singing a similar tune! I am a little confused. My school civics textbook said that the Judiciary was independent of the Legislative in this country. The old score from the late 60s aids Kanhaiya Kumar’s bail order in winning the award for the most lyrical judgement as the judge penned it down using an ultra-patriotic song from a film made in what was still a very young ‘India’. It was a we-are-the-best-and-west-kinda-sucks patriotism.
Well, what came after was rather shocking. The story of our judiciary ass licking the government had just begun! The order goes on to hint that JNU students are infected and that this malicious infection is getting uncontrollable and virulent. With some audacity, it states that “if the infection results in infecting the limb to the extent that it becomes gangrene, amputation is the only treatment.” I do not know how to express what I felt at that moment. I did not know how to react. I was dumbstruck and agitated. I could feel my blood boiling! At that very moment, I was also surprised and sad to see myself so enraged so suddenly. The moment I see Smriti Irani on my screen I pounce to throw her out of my window as she has now become the face of a tickhead government for me, one that cons people and is ready to behead and shoot in the parliament and courts.
“Sorry, say it again! Which era am I living in?” I was yapping to myself while my mind sensed a feeling of utter darkness. I began to wonder if I had gotten into a space-time machine and travelled to an alternate version of the Dark Ages. The times of Dogma, when the idea of God was more powerful than the idea of Humane, when not liking pork meant you weren’t faithful to the Church and could be put to Question (torture till confession, unless God came to your aid) without any consideration. Only here, in this version, eating beef could get you lynched by a mob. Countering mainstream narratives of sura and asura (which is wrongly translated as gods and demons) could get you being referred to as infected. And you could be amputated for questioning a capital punishment as a judicial murder because of the way the order was executed. I couldn’t figure out where I was. My cell phone said it was March 3, 2016, India.
Zooooop! That takes me to another place in the lobes of my head! It is called India, a democratic country with a constitution that gives its people certain fundamental rights. It’s a place where my artist friends do not self-censor their work as they are not scared to paint, write, draw and post what they feel and think. A place where people just eat what they like while respecting each others’ language, religious sentiments, cultural heritage and values and aren’t scared to store meat in their fridge. Where the fear of cyber lynching doesn’t prevent a Shruti Seth from tweeting about propagandist, ineffective ways of the government. Where people are not judged, burnt and lynched on the basis of their skin colour or race.
Tak takk…tak takk takk…I hear a knock. Someone is calling me a utopian already.
I recently read Franz Kafka’s ‘The Trial’. I think I am now beginning to make a lot more sense of it. To quote him:
“One must lie low, no matter how much it went against the grain, and try to understand that this great organization remained, so to speak, in a state of delicate balance, and that if someone took it upon himself to alter the dispositions of things around him, he ran the risk of losing his footing and falling to destruction, while the organization would simply right itself by some compensating reaction in another part of its machinery – since everything interlocked – and remain unchanged, unless, indeed, which was very probable, it became still more rigid, more vigilant, severer, and more ruthless.”
Signing off now. Wondering what is in store for that wonderful face that woke me up that morning. Shall we paint everything black? Oh, but sadly, I heard black has been monopolised.